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Rolling Stones – Complete ’73 Affair (Godfather Records GR334/335)

Complete ’73 Affair (Godfather Records GR334/335)

Wien, Stadthalle, September 1, 1973

CD 1 (78:46):  Brown Sugar, Bitch, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, 100 Years Ago, Star Star, Angie, Sweet Virginia, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Dancing With Mr. D, Midnight Rambler, Silver Train, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, Rip This Joint

The Stones open up their first 1973 European Tour Date in Vienna with “Brown Sugar”. The recording source sounds compressed with the treble accentuated amidst intermittent pulsating bass lines which initially borders on harshness contributing to producing listening fatigue and painful with the volume turned up. The source improves, however, with “Bitch” which offers deep defined bass lines although the treble is still annoying. I was able to focus more on the performance as the source wasn’t as distracting with “Bitch” offering an excellent and invigorated track. The horns, unfortunately, sounded bright. I noticed some slight volume fluctuation with “Gimme Shelter” that sounded tempered compared to the Exile label “Scream All Night In Vienna” release of the same show. Taylor offered nice guitar work that absolutely captivates the listener along with a robust + driven finish that earned a rousing crowd applause. After Jagger introduced Keith to sing “Happy”, Keith started tuning his guitar with a few chords that mirrored “You Gotta Move”. “Happy” was delivered initially in a great frenzied manner with Keith’s vocals buried in the mix lending to more emphasis on the band’s strong instrumentation. With a blues inspired “Tumbling Dice”, I found that I was able to separate the strength of the performance from the treble lead source. The Stones sounded good with a solid and restrained interpretive lead into Taylor’s sizzling guitar flight with “100 Years Ago” where the Stones literally exploded and tore into a collective extended jam capping off this 4:39 piece of ecstasy. “Star Star” offered a welcome and intermittent and more pronounced throbbing bass. Charlie was dead on with his ever steady beat. The source appears to change at 3:04 in the track with much deeper bass and reduced treble contributing to this tremendous rendition.

The first notes of “Angie” sounded sweet with Jagger slightly off key for a few seconds. Charlie joined in with melodic and infectious piano accompaniment. The Stones sounded right in their element. The organ bridge was piercing in a good way. Jagger’s voice was an instrument unto its own with Taylor contributing his masterful fluid guitar lines. The Stones were just dead on here recognized by strong crowd applause. Jagger sounded gruff on “Sweet Virginia”. Bobby Keys took over at the bridge inspiring Jagger who let out a few cat calls. The crowd let out an enthusiastic roar after hearing the first few notes of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. The Stones played a strong intro to this track with the crowd clearly getting into it as Jagger was feeding off the crowd. The rhythm section was strong enhanced by Taylor’s magical blended notes. The vocal harmonies distorted a bit but Taylor amps up the ante wailing away furiously on his guitar as the Stones achieve and sustain cruise control. The organ and lead guitar(s) were feeding + bouncing off of each other naturally.

Jagger stated: “We’re gonna do another new song for you now” leading into “Dancing With Mr. D” played a bit up tempo with Taylor comfortably firing away. An aggressive intro for “Midnight Rambler” bode well for the direction the track would take. The organ and guitar(s) traded leads with the harmonica joining in as Charlie was firing on all cylinders until they all decompressed to a slow crawl. Blues fueled licks followed along with Jagger’s repeated cat calls as they proceeded to grind and grind out their measured notes with Richards shining through until they cranked it back up to a frantic pace to close out this 9:43 minute track to sustained and enthusiastic applause.  With “Silver Train”, deep bass notes lead this gem accompanied by rich organ leads and blazing guitars. Richards can be heard harmonizing softly in the background. The audience easily got into the long intro of “Honky Tonk Women” with Richards once again lending effective vocal harmony in the background. The Stones sounded like a well oiled machine jamming furiously on “All Down The Line”. The fidelity, unfortunately, did not allow for much instrument separation although Taylor is heard making his mark throughout with Bobby Keys letting it all out. The Stones, coincidentally, were letting it all out up to this point as they tore into “Rip This Joint” literally ripping this joint as they took off here in reckless abandon.

CD 2 (70:51):  Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man.  Bonus Tracks:  Sydney, 02-26, 1973:  Rocks Off, Love In Vain, Little Queenie.  Hawaii Honolulu, 01-22, 1973:  It’s All Over Now.  Los Angeles, 01-18, 1973:  Route 66, It’s All Over Now (Version 2), Dead Flowers, No Expectations, Stray Cat Blues.  Hawaii Honolulu, 01-22, 1973:  Live With Me.  Rotterdam (De Doelen) 08-22, 1973:  Can You Hear The Music.  Brussels Vorst National 10-17, 1973:  Gimmie Shelter, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker), Dancing With Mr. D.

After an aggressive “Jumping Jack Flash”, the Stones concert culminates with “Street Fighting Man” as they are on high octane finishing off as only they could way back then. The next 3 Bonus Tracks from the infamous 2-16-73 Sydney, Royal Randwick Racecourse boast of a soundboard source. With “Rocks Off”, the treble is favored detracting a bit from this powerful rendition. “Love In Vain” follows with this track beginning to sizzle right from the get go. Jagger, accompanied by his guitarists’, punctuates his effortless blues delivery with Taylor matching Jagger’s intensity as he takes off belting out his signature guitar licks. This is one blistering 5:05 minute performance. The version of “Little Queenie” simply rocked. (Version 1) of “It’s All Over Now” played at Honolulu’s International Center on 1-22-73 is an excellent audience source. This version was indicative of just how much more of a jamming machine the Stones had become since the live debut of this track back in the sixties. 5 Bonus Tracks follow from their 1-18-73 LA Forum show with “It’s All Over Now” (Version 2) offering an even heavier version with nice brisk guitar interludes and Bobby Keys contributing his sax fills as Richards lends his falsetto to “but it’s all over now” refrains. Richards complements Jagger perfectly on harmony on ‘Dead Flowers”. It’s a shame that the piano was buried in the mix. A very intense but soothing standout rendition of “No Expectations” follows. “Stray Cat Blues” is an upbeat and danceable version with a great Taylor jam ending the track.

We revert back to the 1-22-73 Honolulu International Center concert for a solid excellent audience source for “Live With Me.” And now, for the piece de resistance, the Rotterdam Tour Rehearsals of 8-22-73 for “Can’t You Hear The Music” in a soundboard source. This haunting rehearsal of this closet classic is hypnotic and begs for repeated listens. I am simply running out of superlatives to employ here. This is one 9:28 minute work of a genius in progress. A wonderful and perfectly fitting transition to the above follows with “Gimme Shelter”, the first of the 3 final Bonus Tracks from the 10-17-73 Vorst National venue in Belgium in a soundboard source. This is one of the best live versions of this track ever and Taylor is simply on fire with Charlie in tow. A 4:56 rendering of “Heartbreaker Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” of, yet again, one of the best live versions of this track follows. I would have faded audience to audience on these 3 tracks to give the semblance of continuity to these exciting and riveting live feeds. A rousing and biting version of “Dancing With Mr. D” closes out the very generous helping of Bonus Tracks. I would have allowed for an extension of audience applause with a slow fade out to complete it.

I compared G.R. 334/335 with EXCD-014/15 for the 9-1-73 Vienna show and found the latter to exhibit more gain with a heavier all around low end and with disturbing volume fluctuations throughout. The former, however, was cleaned up reflecting deeper and cleaner bass lines that were, unfortunately, initially overshadowed by an accentuated high end. The volume fluctuations, however, were hardly discernible with the former and were apparent to me because I was familiar with the source for the latter. Godfather Records deserves kudos for their successful ability to clean up inferior sounding tape source(s). I was honestly able to enjoy the 9-1-73 standout Stones performance after track 2, “Bitch”, and really never looked back. CD 2 offers an extremely healthy dose of Bonus Tracks. The real highlights, of course, are the 3 tracks from the 2-16-73 Sydney concert  which I do not believe have ever surfaced previously on CD. I am curious as to the whereabouts of the rest of the 2-16-73 performance.

The artwork for G.R. 334/335 is outstanding and cutting edge in every respect featuring breathtaking period photos along with 1973 Winter East Tour + 1973 European Tour date listings in their crafty and elegant  tri-fold packaging. This particular release comes with high recommendations for a number of reasons as it captures a phenomenal and classic Stones performance on 9-1-73. But the real treat aside from the 3 first time Bonus tracks of their 2-16-73 concert lies obviously and without reservations with the 9:28 minutes of sheer musical genius captured as part of the Stones 8-22-73 legendary Rotterdam Tour Rehearsals of “Can’t You Hear The Music”!

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. From wich source is the sydney bonus tracks, and do the have the hole show.

  2. When all is said and done, this is one great Stones performance that deserves the finest mastering and a complete uninterrupted listen to fully appreciate the raw talent and inherent brilliance thereof.

  3. I have recently received the Vinyl Gang release of this show, Goodnight Vienna, and it is indeed much better than and superior to the Godfather version. VGP’s release isn’t perfect (the levels fluctuate in some songs) but this very good audience recording sounds so much more natural and listenable, compared to Godfather’s “remastering”, which brightened the sound and made it sound hollow, tinny, and artificial (not to mention the gaps between the tracks on disc 1). To me the Godfather release was a chore to listen to. SODD is another label that simliarly “brightens up” Stones 72-73 shows and they sound similarly artificial like this Godfather release. Brighter sounding isn’t always better sounding than the original recordings.

  4. VGP’s Goodnight Vienna stands as the definitive release of this show, folks.

    Previous to VGP’s awful 1997 Tour releases their Product were hands down the best mastered CDs of Rolling Stones concerts.

    Whoever did VGP’s mastering in the early-mid 1990s had the magic touch.

  5. I wish the release was just the 2nd CD. The first CD to me is a difficult listen. Perhaps a better source from 73 could have been used for disc 1. I have enjoyed almost all Godfather releases but this one is a dud.

  6. To clarify, there is a brief second of silence before every track after track 1 on Disc 1, not Disc 2’s bonus tracks. There is a gap of silence right before the track flows into the next track. I have not problem with spaces between bonus tracks, as they are compiled from various concerts, but to have them on nearly every track on Disc 1 is very problematic. It’s a great concert, but the tinny harsh sound and the gaps are very disruptive to the flow of the concert.

  7. I don’t have any other releases to compare this to, but the Godfather version sounds tinny, as if the treble was turned way up, producing a not very natural sound. My biggest complaint, one not mentioned in the review, is that there is a brief second of silence before every track beginning with track 2, totally disrupting the flow of the concert!! It reminds me of a bad concert CD-R that wasn’t programmed right or cross-faded and had spaces between each track. A big disappointment from Godfather records (along with Some Kind of Fashion (the last few tracks on disc 1 have some weird clicking noise on them)). If you can’t remaster it right, maybe you shouldn’t bother at all!!

  8. Couple more corrections…’Live With Me’is from Jan 21st show in Hawaii. Also, they played 2 shows on Jan 22nd.
    I did order this title hoping for SB source of Vienna show but knew it was too good to be true. ‘Can You Hear The Music’ is worth price of admission and thank you to CMR for this great review.
    William. p.s. cup of joe to follow

  9. What’s the big deal about Godfather getting the date wrong for Sydney 1973? It’s just a bonus track.
    Point is; that this is the wellknown source for Vienna 1973, and to my ears – it’s just a EQ’d copy of the VGP release. And I do prefer the VGP release…as I think Godfather is almost like SODD when it comes to mixing….it’s brighter; but harsher and less more “dead-sounding”.
    Comparing this one to the Exile Records release is a bit off….as Exile was a disaster – even worse than SODD and Godfather.
    Thanks for the review….nice page you have got here.

  10. Usually I reserve the benefit of the doubt to a label with these kinds of mistakes. Godfather produces a lot of titles every month from all kinds of sources and artists. Unlike some labels they don’t try to intentionally deceive people with their product.

  11. Certainly a nice release for a newcomer to the 1973 Stones tour–something I (and probably many here) am not. For me, the bonus tracks, etc are just rehash.

    I’m not trying to claim that the characterization of 9-1-73 was definitely intentional, but I’m very skeptical, as I feel buyers should be. The SB mislabel might also temp an oldie or a newbie to buy this product. Generally, Godfather releases are honest and good stuff. I’m just asserting my right to nitpick…

  12. The Rolling Stones – Feb 16, 1973 – they were in Melbourne, Australia doing a press conference, TV interviews.

    They played two shows in Sydney, Austrailia – Feb 26, 1973 and Feb 27, 1973. The Godfatherecords lable made a “typo” listing the Sydney tracks as 2-16-1973.

    The Feb 26th, 1973 show has been released before as a soundboard, however, it is not complete because the first minute or so of ‘Brown Sugar’ is spliced in from the Perth show soundboard source and the last two songs of this show, JJF and SFM are missing from soundboard source and only available in audience.


  13. This is the result of stuffing one’s face incessantly with too much turkey; my review oversight regarding the blatantly obvious date of 2-16-73 listed for the Sydney show has been released to death all over the planet, correctly put, on 2-26-73 of which I myself have at least 2 – 3 miscellaneous incarnations lurking around. To add insult to injury, GodfatheRecords themselves, believe it or not, had this all under their very thumbs without picking up on it as there is no 2-16-73 concert date included in the “1973 Winter East Tour” list that they provided in the tri-fold packaging liner notes of the above release and they most probably had been consuming too much turkey as well.

  14. The vgp is a very bad production comparing to gr, this one is worth having.

  15. The attribution of a soundboard recording for the Vienna show was a mistake made by Godfather. It is the same very good audience recording used by VGP and Exile. And while I don’t have the Vinyl Gang to compare, Exile really murdered this tape with the metallic crunch. Godfather doesn’t have that and sounds very nice.

  16. I think the 2-16-73 date has been misattributed and the real date for the Sydney Randwick SB source is 2-26-73 (released on many CDs in the past). I don’t have this title to confirm that but it would seem logical… I also really do like reviews that compare previously available titles to the title being reviewed. So kudos for that, Rocker! Also, according to the label info that has been circulating, Godfather records are calling the main 9-1-73 source a SB, which i’m also surmising (based on the review) is incorrect and this is the excellent audience source. I wonder how this compares to the VGP release “Goodnight Vienna”? Exile has been roundly criticized in the past for over-equalizing/compressing metallicizing their pressings.

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